There has been no one clearly dominant player in college soccer this year. There's actually been a bunch of them.
And after a somewhat (OK, mostly) laughable preseason Hermann Trophy watch list, the NSCAA got things largely right with their 15-strong roll call of semifinalists.
Of course, the two guys they missed — CSU Bakersfield's Gyasi Zardes and Indiana University's Eriq Zavaleta — are Nos. 1 and 3 on our Big Board, and both sure-fire pros as soon as they decide to put pen to paper. Zardes is an LA Galaxy Academy product who reportedly turned down a Homegrown contract last year, and led the Roadrunners with 15 goals and nine assists as a redshirt junior. Zavaleta, a true sophomore, has 17 goals and three assists, and has led the Hoosiers into the NCAA Tournament's final eight.
So yeah, a couple of big names missing from the list, which is below:
|Ashton Bennett||Sr.||F||Coastal Carolina|
|Mamadou Doudou Diouf||Jr.||F||UConn|
|Ryan Finley||Sr.||F||Notre Dame|
|Robbie Kristo||So.||F||St. Louis|
|Dillon Powers||Sr.||M||Notre Dame|
|Devon Sandoval||Sr.||F||New Mexico|
Note the number of seniors, which speaks well of the chances for a third consecutive strong SuperDraft. I can't pretend to have watched as much college soccer this year as guys like Daniel Robertson, who provides our MLS on Campus coverage, and Travis Clark, who does great work for TopDrawerSoccer.com, but I've seen my fair share, and most of these guys have a future. I particularly like Alvarez and Diouf, because I am a UConn homer, and Sandoval, because he will be the next Steven Lenhart. Seriously, you will either love or hate him.
Odds-on favorite at this point? Probably Notre Dame's Finley, who scored 21 goals and added four assists for the Fighting Irish. All as a sub, which either makes it way more impressive or way more confusing.
Notre Dame, by the way, lost to Indiana last weekend in the Round of 16. Zavaleta scored the game-winner.
Some things are better than trophies.